Place racial and social justice at the forefront of cannabis legislation
Last week, New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly to legalize cannabis for adult use. Voters said YES to ending the harms of cannabis prohibition and expressed a desire for New Jersey to take a reparative approach to ending our state’s unjust cannabis laws. Now, I’m calling on you to immediately pass cannabis decriminalization (A1897/S2535) and to amend the cannabis legalization implementation bill (S21/A21) to invest in communities most harmed by the War on Drugs. Given the disproportionate harm experienced by communities of color under cannabis prohibition, it’s essential that the state’s response prioritizes ending arrests and the collateral consequences that stem from them. After decades of prohibition and hundreds of thousands of arrests, New Jerseyans can no longer wait. I urge you to fast track A1897/S2535, and adopt a model that decriminalizes cannabis up to 6 ounces, dismisses pending charges, and creates opportunities for relief for people across the state. I am asking for several key amendments to S21/A21: • Fair and equitable taxation: taxes should be levied on the grower/processor, and should be charged at the same rate other states are charging. Let’s not leave money on the table when other states have shown that there is a rate people are happy to pay, and that money can significantlly assist struggling communities. • Allocate tax revenue from legalization to reinvest in the communities that have faced disproportionate harm from prohibition, allowing for the additional support for community-centered services, including job training, housing assistance, and healthcare services. • Prioritize the licensing of people from disproportionately impacted areas, those with prior cannabis-related criminal records, and their immediate families by increasing the number of licenses reserved for the group, preserving majority ownership, and creating funding opportunities to help people enter into the industry. • Ensure that people with marijuana arrest records have access to licenses to sell legally. • Restore ongoing funding for expungement to ensure that it is accessible for individuals criminalized due to cannabis prohibition. • Permit "home grow" for personal use, which will enable financially struggling people, especially MMJ patients. I urge you to work with legislative sponsors to amend this bill, and fulfill the vision of legalization that voters spoke for when they voted to legalize cannabis last week. With every day that passes, hundreds more people suffer the consequences of our current cannabis laws. We cannot delay any longer. We must decriminalize now, and pass implementation legislation that centers racial and social justice.
First sent on November 10, 2020 by Fair Cannabis Legislation for NJ
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